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Posted on Fri, Dec 23, 2011 : 2:53 p.m.

Milan family wins grand prize of $10,000 in grocery cards from

By Jen Eyer


From left: Chief Content Officer Tony Dearing; Paige, Shawn, Morgan and Jason Woodward, and Kroger store manager Wally Baleja.

Melanie Maxwell |

For a family who says they’ve never won anything, the Woodwards of Milan got some good luck just in time for Christmas.

Jason Woodward, 36, a husband and father of two, won a random drawing on Monday for $10,000 in grocery gift cards from — the grand prize in the company’s $30,000 grocery giveaway.

The family visited on Friday to claim their prize: a leather wallet containing 20 $500 cards to Kroger, which Jason had named as his favorite grocery store. Jason said he plans to keep the cards in a safe deposit box.

So what’s first for the winners?

“We’re going to let the girls have a junk food day,” said Jason’s wife, Shawn Woodward. For daughter Paige, 12, that translates to M&Ms. For Morgan, 8, it means lots of beef jerky.

Next stops will include donating dog food to the Humane Society of Huron Valley, taking food to their church, and giving a gift basket to the friend who told Shawn about the contest, Shawn said.

And for 2012, the Woodwards say their winnings will allow them to catch their breath financially — and enjoy the occasional lobster tail or prime rib.

Jason Woodward is a former line worker at Chrysler’s GEMA plant in Dundee who lost his job during the company’s downsizing a few years ago. He has taken classes to train as a veterinary assistant, and has volunteered at the Milan Animal Hospital. But he hasn’t been able to find a job.

Shawn works full-time and then some — “too much,” says Paige — as a medical assistant in the emergency room at University of Michigan Hospital.

“This will just really help us,” Shawn said. “We live paycheck to paycheck right now.”

Shawn said they played the grocery giveaway every day from the time they learned about it in October.

In August 2011, launched a new Food & Grocery page featuring the latest grocery deals, recipes, news about the local food and beverage scene and interesting food articles from around the web. On August 15, readers were invited to play the $30,000 Grocery Giveaway sweepstakes. The sweepstakes ended Sunday night at 11:59 p.m.

Each day, readers could play “spin to win” for the chance to win $10 or $100 in free groceries from their favorite store, including Arbor Farms Market, Hiller’s, Polly’s Country Market, Meijer and Kroger. Once a week there was a $250 bonus day. Each time a person played, they received another entry into the grand prize drawing.

According to the USDA, $10,000 buys the average family of four their groceries for a whole year.

12,484 people registered, each playing an average of 20.4 times. 1,260 instant win gift cards were awarded totaling $26,640.

For the grand prize, there were 255,133 entries in all, and Jason played 80 times, which gave him a .03% chance of winning.

"We are so pleased to find a way to introduce the new food and grocery section of our site while giving back to our community at the same time," said David Martel,'s marketing director. called Jason on Tuesday morning to notify him that he’d won. Shawn said she couldn’t believe how calm her husband was on the phone. “I was like, why isn’t he excited?” Shawn said. “I probably would have been screaming.”

Despite his composure, just before hanging up Jason can be heard yelling “Sweet!” to his wife.

“I was a little shocked at first, and then it really hit me,” Jason said. The excitement came out, though, when he told his daughters. “He made me jump up and down and dance around with him, singing ‘We won $10,000!’” Morgan said.

Paige said she didn’t believe it at first, and she made her father show her the confirmation email.

“We never win anything,” she said with a smile.

Jen Eyer is director of audience engagement for Reach her at or (734) 623-2577.



Sat, Dec 24, 2011 : 1:15 p.m.

What a great blessing!!! So glad to see someone who needs it win!!! What a great lesson in paying some of it forward!!! Merry Christmas!!!

Tex Treeder

Sat, Dec 24, 2011 : 4:35 a.m.

What a great Christmas present. Good for them.

David Martel

Sat, Dec 24, 2011 : 4:01 a.m.

JMA2Y - You make a good point regarding being aware of the tax consequences of the prize. Upfront, the contest rules explain that the winner will be responsible for any taxes owed. Upon notification of winning, and prior to acceptance, we again call attention to the tax responsibility.


Sat, Dec 24, 2011 : 3:36 a.m.

Contests are great but the tax owed can be a surprise. Did the paper tell them they will owe tax? It's best to win cash instead of prizes. For prizes, one pays income and sales tax. For cash one only pays income tax. Does the paper cover the income tax that will be due when they do their taxes? 20% tax on $10k is $2000 they will owe (of course that can be more or less depending on income and what tax rebates would decrease it.) But that sudden tax will be a hit for which they may not be prepared come February when they do their taxes.


Fri, Dec 23, 2011 : 9:26 p.m.

I am so happy for them and especially happy that they are so deserving of this. I sincerely hope it makes their lives a little easier for a while. It was good to know that Jason is volunteering his time at the vet, despite not getting paid. He must have a good heart and hopefully the experience he is gaining from it will land him a full time job.


Fri, Dec 23, 2011 : 9:21 p.m.

Congratulations. This family needs a little luck and a little help. Merry Christmas!


Fri, Dec 23, 2011 : 8:57 p.m.

Congratulations, Woodward family! Enjoy! And it's nice of you to think of the Humane Society and other people, too! In response to another person who commented, I did win a $10 Kroger gift card in this contest, and I live in the 48197 zip code area.


Fri, Dec 23, 2011 : 8:54 p.m.

Very Nice to see a deserving family won. Good Luck to them. Very nice thing for and Kroger to do.

David Martel

Fri, Dec 23, 2011 : 8:49 p.m.

Jeff - I am so sorry you had difficulty in registering and wish we had the opportunity to address the situation while the promotion was still active. As published in the rules, 48197 was an eligible zip code. In fact, we had over 1,600 registrants in the 48197 zip code. Here is a link to the rules which was published in all promotions and on all pages of the game site. <a href=""></a> David Martel, Marketing Director

Jeff lehman Sr

Fri, Dec 23, 2011 : 8:35 p.m.

It's nice that they won and a true blessing, but with them living in Milan, I wonder how they were able to play, let alone win. I live in Ypsilanti, and everytime I entered my zip code of 48197, I was told my zip code did not qualify for the contest, so I stopped playing. And to make matters worse, I am subscribed to the Ann Arbor Newspaper. Oh well, good for that family and hopefully it will make their Christmas a very, merry one. God's blessings to all!!


Fri, Dec 23, 2011 : 10:23 p.m.

&quot;About 60% of the city's area and 75% of its residents are located on the Washtenaw County side adjacent to York Township in Washtenaw County&quot; From: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> It was worth commenting to complain about, but it wasn't worth asking for help from when it didn't work, I guess.

dading dont delete me bro

Fri, Dec 23, 2011 : 8:27 p.m.

&quot;...a random drawing on Monday for $10,000 in grocery gift cards from — the grand prize in the company's $30,000 grocery giveaway...&quot; and 'they' wonder why the paper doesn't make money anymore... ...not to mention, i now know why my subscription is so much.